Home > Uncategorized > Betsy in Wonderland: DeVos Proposes Using ESSA Funds for Impoverished Schools to Buy Guns for Teachers

Betsy in Wonderland: DeVos Proposes Using ESSA Funds for Impoverished Schools to Buy Guns for Teachers

August 23, 2018

I just read received a “Breaking News Alert” from the NYTimes that links to an article whose first paragraph describes an idea that could have come from the staff of the Onion:

The Education Department is considering whether to allow states to use federal funding to purchase guns for educators, according to multiple people with knowledge of the plan.

This is not only a completely absurd idea, it is dangerous, counterproductive, and, as the NYTimes article by Erica Green details, probably illegal. As Ms. Green notes, as it stands now, grants distributed by the Homeland Security Department intended for “school preparedness” cannot be used for the purchase of weapons and ammunition. Moreover, following the Parkland FL shootings Congress explicitly passed a rule “…prohibiting the use of grants for firearms or firearm training in the Stop School Violence Act, under which the Justice Department will grant funds to school districts.”

But given the composition of the commission on school safety, the schools that group has visited as part of its listening tour, and the President’s insistence that arming teachers is a viable means of preventing school school shootings, I am not surprised that this proposal is getting serious consideration. And where will the funds to arm teachers come from given these explicit guidelines forbidding their purchase?

(T)he department is eyeing a program in federal education law, the Student Support and Academic Enrichment grants, that makes no mention of prohibiting weapons purchases. That omission would allow the education secretary, Betsy DeVos, to use her discretion to approve any state or district plans to use grant funding for firearms and firearm training, unless Congress clarifies the law or bans such funding through legislative action

The $1 billion student support program, part of the Every Student Succeeds Act, is intended for academic and enrichment opportunities in the country’s poorest schoolsand calls for school districts to use the money toward three goals: providing a well-rounded education, improving school conditions for learning and improving the use of technology for digital literacy.

So the scenario for funneling funds to schools for arms would go like this: the Federal government would allow states to have the discretion to use Student Support and Academic Enrichment grants to buy armaments for teachers instead of using those funds to provide a well-rounded education, improve school conditions for learning and improve the use of technology for digital literacy.

Somewhere in Washington DC a rabbit is late for a very important date…..

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